Opinion | Study of eating habits at Miami accurately reflects distorted self perceptions of students
Published: Friday, April 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 23:04
Miami University Anthropology Professor Cameron Hay-Rollins and Kinesiology and Health Professor Rose Marie Ward conducted a survey of female first year students on eating disorders and disordered eating.
They found that due to Miami’s demographics, these particular students were more likely to fall victim to an eating disorder while at Miami or even before they came to campus.
The professors also found students would develop a moral ideology about eating and food. The survey was brought on after observation of students eating habits at the university and after seeing first-year female students tended to acquire abnormal eating habits or an eating disorder.
The editorial board of The Miami Student commends the professors for conducting this research and shedding light on a topic that is not often discussed among students.
Girls tend to be more likely to develop an eating disorder at some point in their lives, but here at Miami, female first-year students are even more susceptible.
Since Miami’s population is 55 percent females and many of these females come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, these students are under the most pressure to adhere to a certain lifestyle.
We were fascinated by the research Hay-Rollins and Ward did, but we were not surprised by the findings.
Every female on the editorial board was able to identify with some of the disordered eating practices the professors observed.
We all recalled a time when we felt pressured to spend that extra hour at the Rec or felt that all eyes were watching while we bought that pizza, Coke and chips in Shriver Center. Many on the board have experiencednot feeling thin enough to fit in at Miami.
After hearing of Miami’s reputation of having some of the most beautiful and skinny girls and then coming to campus, we understand first-years may feel immense pressure to lose weight as quickly as possible regardless of what is healthy for them.
So often we see girls who think eating only salads or cutting calories is a means to attaining a healthy body.
But this is not a healthy lifestyle and not what students should be aspiring to.
Miami should try to do a better job of promoting a healthy lifestyle with healthy eating.
We often just get the idea from society that being skinny or stick thin equals healthy, when this is not the case.
We unfortunately still live in a culture with a perceived idea that skinny is beautiful, regardless of the means to become thin.
Instead we should aim to be healthy, strong and inspiring, not striving to be stick thin.
Healthy, strong, inspiring men and women get things done.